RIDDEN: Royal Enfield Classic 350 review, a true modern classic
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Royal Enfield Classic 350
- Joyful motorcycling in a mellow package
- Outside the city, it would be easy to outgrow
- It is anything but quick
The Classic 350 is far from a performance motorcycle, but from the first twist of the throttle, I found myself falling for this modern take on Royal Enfield’s long-running Bullet range.
New for 2022, the Classic 350 is based around the same L-series 349cc single-cylinder engine that debuted with the new Meteor 350 last year. Producing 27Nm at 4000rpm and 15kW at 6100rpm, it is far from a powerhouse by modern standards, but it is uniquely charming in a way that produces a smile as you roll on the throttle.
From its smooth acceleration to its burbling exhaust note, the Classic 350 has far more allure in the engine alone than its $7990 pricing would suggest. With a long stroke motor and plenty of low and mid-range torque, the little 350 happily thrums along with the flow of traffic with ease.
Styling is plucked straight out of the post-war era, with the Classic 350 being a further update on the 2008-era Classic range. Higher spec bikes gain extras such as skid plates, alloy wheels and the like, but even the base bike, in our case in Halcyon Black, looks fantastic.
After collecting the Classic from Royal Enfield distributors Urban Moto Imports in Tauranga, I had the daunting task of climbing and traversing the Kaimai ranges to return back to home base. I’ll admit I was a little anxious at how the little bike would manage to maintain the open road speed limit up over the hills.
However, in the real-world conditions involving heavy traffic over SH29, I had no issues with taking the little Enfield outside of its comfort zone. I even managed, with a bit of planning, to nail a couple of overtake manoeuvres which filled me with quite a sense of accomplishment.
There are some areas the budget nature of the Classic manage to break through to the surface. The front 300mm disc with twin-piston Bybre caliper isn’t the most amazing stopper and I found I was adding in the 270mm rear unit for additional stopping power. The mirrors are also a bit buzzy, reducing your view rearward to a bit of a blur at higher speeds.
The Classic 350 is more a stylish tool to get from A to B rather than a weekend warrior, but that’s not something to hold against it.
When it came to running small errands around town, I found myself reaching for the keys to the Enfield for the simple joy of riding it.
By far and away, the Classic 350 is a perfect tool for beginner riders looking at getting into the world of motorcycling with a bike that looks the business and is also easy to manage.
The clutch action is light and incredibly forgiving while its turning circle is incredibly tight - perfect attributes for nailing that 6R practical test.
Deciding to put my learner cap on and try my hand at performing practice U-turns for my “test” had me quickly sold on the Classic as a learner machine. It’s just so mellow yet surprisingly capable in the right circumstances.
If anything, the Classic 350 is honest motoring. It isn’t trying to be anything more than the sum of its parts. It is a stylish little learner-cum-commuter that happily hums along from A to B and boy, does it look good doing it.
BREAK IT DOWN
ROYAL ENFILED CLASSIC 350
Price: $7990 (as tested)
Engine: 349cc single cylinder